I was happy to see that there was a Bow Wow Wow CD in the basement of Harvest Records. I always enjoyed the band from the get-go, but lack more than a couple of CDs in the Record Cell. Seeing another sitting there was a no-brainer. I only have one of their “proper” albums but in all honesty, they only had two of those amid a welter of compilations and re-packagings, even back in the day. I am of the opinion that Malcolm McLaren got the better end of the deal with Adam Ant when Adam hired him as a consultant and got an earful of McLaren’s pop theories even as the erstwhile Sex Pistols manager absconded with Ant’s band right from under his nose. Sure, Adam took those notes and became a star, but as good as his records could be, the original Ants were just an insanely tight band as evidenced in their incarnation as Bow Wow Wow.
#27 • Bow Wow Wow: I Want Candy US LP/CD [1982/1993]
- I Want Candy – 2:40
- Baby, Oh No – 2:44
- Louis Quatorze [ver. 2] – 2:47
- Cowboy – 3:25
- Mile High Club [ver. 2] – 3:25
- Go Wild In The Country [ext. remix] – 5:18
- Jungle Boy [ext. remix] – 5:18
- El Boss Dicho – 2:09
- (I’m A) T.V. Savage [remix] – 2:35
- King Kong – 2:16
I recall seeing the “I Want Candy” video played quite a bit on places like HBO’s “Video Jukebox” and by the late summer of 1982, when my cable system added MTV, it was a fairly common song. The tune first appeared on the US 4-track EP called “The Last of the Mohicans,” which contained the tune along with a new song, “Cowboy” Rounding out the EP were two remakes of earlier songs from “Your Cassette Pet” as produced by Joan Jett’s producer Kenny Laguna. Though I liked Bow Wow Wow, I never got around to buying this at the time, distracted as I was by all the amazing things swirling around me. No one was more surprised than I was to see that the four tracks from that EP metastasized into a US-only album called “I Want Candy” in a further bid for obviousness. Upon closer inspection it seemed to be the “Mohicans” EP with old tracks from “Your Cassette Pet” and “See Jungle! See Jungle! Go Join Your Gang Yeah! City All Over! Go Ape Crazy!” filling out the space. I moved on.
<insert 31 year gap>
While I had the two actual Bow Wow Wow albums on vinyl at the time of release and enjoyed them. I didn’t really come to appreciate the band more fully until the 90s, when giving their music the backward glance, I appreciated all the disparate influences they synthesized into their sound a lot more after understanding better just what they were [Duane Eddy, Balinese Monkey Chant, Surf Rock, Funk]. And how unlikely it all was! EMI released the excellent “Girl Bites Dog” compilation [courtesy of producer and icon Vinny Vero] and I was ecstatic to finally have the incredible “W.O.R.K.” 12″ mix* on CD. The comp is a true gem with all of “Your Cassette Pet” given to the digital medium along with many other loose bits of wonderment. I then bought the One Way CD of the band’s second album [and swansong] “When The Going Gets Tough The Tough Get Going” and appreciated it even more than I had the vinyl of it. So when I saw the “I Want Candy” album last weekend that went quickly into the shopping bag.
My thought was, it’s was worth it just for the material from the “Mohicans” EP, but finally owning the album has revealed further charms. Of course, “I Want Candy” remains one of the best of the New Wave cover hits as it takes The Strangeloves single and makes it their own. “Baby, Oh No” was a US only single [with “Cowboy” as a B-side], also cut with Kenny Laguna and featuring elegant leads courtesy of guitarist Matthew Ashman. The new versions of “Louis Quatorze” and “Mile High Club” sound tougher than the cassette versions, but are otherwise similar in arrangement. Where this album got more fascinating was on what was once side two.
There were three cuts on side two from “See Jungle!…” but these have been remixed most capably by Bill Kimber. “Go Wild In The Country” was given a super extended remix that would have been right at home in the 1981 environment that originally surrounded that single. Ironically, the actual UK 12″ of said single was the straight album cut of under three minutes. That song’s B-side, “El Boss Dicho” was also brought along for the ride and appeared here as well. What really knocked me out was the remix of “Jungle Boy” that Kimber expertly achieved. This was always my favorite song from the “See Jungle…” album that takes its name from the lyrics to this song. Now it’s a 5:12 workout that finally satisfies me fully! The remix is exceptionally good, too. None of those anemic 1981 “instrumental vamping for four bars” tropes show their faces here! The “TV Savage” remix is the one of the three that barely sounds different.
All of this in 2013 is absolutely delightful to my ears, and the only cut on this release that is actually a straight re-tread is the appearance of “King Kong” from the “See Jungle…” album that is completely untouched. I noticed that this CD is selling for a lot more than I paid for it, and up front harbored thoughts of perhaps flipping it since those concert trips coming up won’t be paid on good intentions, but this album delivers too much to even think of selling it off, even for a nice profit. With three Bow Wow Wow CDs on my racks, I now need to really make the effort to buy the 2010 Cherry Red 2xCD DLX RM of “See Jungle…;” the crown jewel in the Bow Wow Wow canon.
By the way the thread is 30 Albums: 30 Days. There’s only one way to achieve that; posting seven days a week. Be here tomorrow for the next chapter!
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